We’ve gone through two months of this ridiculous Mask de Masculine hero already, and he’s finally going down this week. Mask has actually not once gained the upper hand against Renji in this fight, despite coming back and powering up again and again. I’m sure that the fact Renji kept his cool and his mouth shut helped his performance a lot, but a lot of this confidence probably also came from his experience at the Soul Palace. He (along with Rukia and Ichigo) basically received the best of the best training possible for a shinigami. The Royal Guard is essentially the elite five, with the best healer, the creator of all the zanpakutou, the namer of the zanpakutou (and everything else), the master of reiatsu, and Shutara, who’s abilities aren’t clear yet, though it’s implied to have something to do with clothing and armor. Soul Society on a whole sure would be a hell lot stronger if the Royal Guard gave the same level of help to all of the captains and lieutenants, but I guess they just can’t be bothered with the affairs of the lowly incompetent Gotei 13.
Renji however, is lucky enough to be chosen for upgrades. After training against the Asauchi, he is deemed worthy enough to be told the “real” name of his sword, because apparently he sucked too much before and was only told half of it by his zanpakutou. His complete bankai Souou Zabimaru is now a lot stronger, and also has a bunch of new forms and abilities now. On his right hand he holds a toothed blade and gauntlet similar to his shikai, and on his left he wields a giant skeleton arm, with a long tail trailing behind him. Despite his bravado, Mask never stands a chance, and is finally disintegrated with a huge energy blast and a zinger from Renji at the end of the chapter. It was an interesting battle, but I’m looking forward to something new, and hopefully the next fight will feature some of the more highly anticipated characters.